Skip to main content

Full text of "The National Road in song and story"

See other formats


mi 


\m\s  HISTORIC^  survey; 


in  Song  And  Story 


FEDERAL  WORKS  AGENCY 
John  M.  Carmody,  Administrator 

WORK  PROJECTS  ADMINISTRATION 

P.  C.  Harrington,  Commissioner 

Florence  Kerr,  Assistant  Commissioner 

Carl  Watson,  State  Administrator 


Printed   in    U.  S.  A. 


THE 

NATIONAL 

ROAD 

in  song  and  story 

Compiled  by 

Workers  of  the  Writers'  Program 

of  the  Work  Projects  Administration 

in  the  State  of  Ohio 


Sponsored  by 

The  Ohio  State  Archaeological 
and  Historical  Society 


Copyright.    1940 


c/^cknowlcdgmcnts 

CT'HE  basic  research  for  this  book  was  prc- 
-*■  pared  mainly  by  workers  in  the  district 
supervised  by  Emerson  Hansel.  Research  for 
the  verse  and  the  section,  "The  Milestones," 
was  in  the  care  of  Alfred  Bath;  the  poetry 
resulted  from  copy  submitted  by  Robert  A. 
Griffith  and  Walter  Richardson. 

The  illustrations  were  drawn  by  Arthur 
Griffith  of  the  Ohio  Art  Project,  supervised  in 
the  State  by  Charlotte  Gowing  Cooper. 

For  sponsorship  of  this  book  and  for  much 
assistance  and  cooperation,  the  Ohio  Writers' 
Project  thanks  the  Ohio  State  Archaeological 
and  Historical  Society,  particularly  E.  C.  Zepp, 
William  D.  Overman,  and  Harlow  L.  Lindley. 

Harry  Graff,  State  Supervisor 
The  Ohio  Writers'  Project 


^  /UV,^:'>T. 


C3 
cr- 


cop-  a 


Foreword 


THE  year  1940  marks  the  centennial  of  the  completion  of 
"The  Main  Street  of  America" — the  "Old  National  Road." 
It  was  this  historic  artery  that  afforded  to  the  Eastern  colonics 
access  to  the  vast  domain  lying  west  of  the  Alleghenies,  and 
which  came  to  constitute  the  life  line  tying  together  the  far 
flung  components  of  the  American  republic. 

The  genesis  of  what  was  affectionately  termed  the 
"National  Pike"  was  concurrent  with  the  birth  of  the  Ohio 
Commonwealth,  and  its  completion  a  century  ago  was  an 
epochal  event.  For  a  while  it  was  "time's  noblest  offspring" 
but,  as  the  course  of  empire  took  its  way,  it  gradually  shared 
importance  with  the  canals  and  other  means  of  travel  and  trans- 
portation. And  now,  the  clumsy  ox-drawn  vehicle,  the  stage 
coach,  and  the  horse  and  buggy,  convoying  the  humble  and 
the  great,  are  but  memories.     And  so,  too,  are  the  canal  systems. 

The  canals  are  gone,  perhaps  forever.  But  not  so  the 
National  Pike.  With  the  advent  of  automotive  transportation, 
it  has  assumed  foremost  importance  and,  as  U.  S.  Route  40, 
it  may  be  traversed  from  Atlantic  tidewater  to  Pacific  shoals. 

Credit  for  research,  compilation  and  preparation  of  the 
manuscript  of  this  booklet  devolves  upon  the  Ohio  Writers' 
Project.  The  illustrations  were  supplied  by  the  Ohio  Art 
Project.  The  Ohio  Chamber  of  Commerce,  and  numerous  local 
civic  organizations  have  made  possible  its  distribution. 

The  Old  National  Road  is  symbolic  of  the  beginnings,  the 
development  and  the  coming  of  age  of  our  Nation  and  our 
State.  It  is  hoped  that  this  booklet  will  crystallize  this  senti- 
ment in  the  minds  of  those  who  may  read  it. 

H.   C.   Shetrone,  Director, 
The  Ohio  State  Archaeological 
and  Historical  Society. 


The    National    Road 


The   ^oad 


CT'HE  NATIONAL  ROAD  is  one  of  several  highways  that 
cross  the  Nation.  It  is  not  the  Lincoln  Highway,  with 
new  fame;  it  has  the  long  tradition  of  the  first  national  road, 
the  path  that  brought  the  Colonics  across  the  Ap/palachians 
and  spread  democratic  union.  It  was  driven  west  from  the 
Colonics  after  the  Revolution,  when  men  through  exuberance 
or  necessity  took  up  again  the  western  journey  that  had  begun 
in  Europe. 

As  a  rule,  men  do  not  build  roads  in  order  to  settle  a 
country.  They  use  whatever  means  arc  at  hand — waterways 
or  animal  paths — and  make  their  way  forward.  But  when 
they  settle  and  raise  their  families  and  want  civilization,  they 
build  roads  from  the  old  homestead  to  the  new  and  to  their 
neighbors. 

The  National  Road  did  not  begin  settlement  of  the  trans- 
Appalachian  country.  Explorers,  traders,  missionaries — these 
people  had  traveled  the  Great  Lakes  and  the  rivers  and  the 
forests,  and  founded  towns  in  the  Old  Northwest.  After  the 
Ordinance  of  1787  opened  the  Ohio  country  to  general  settle- 
ment, a  small,  but  important,  migration  began,  founding 
towns,  cutting  farms  into  the  wilderness. 

As  settlement  was  made,  the  pioneer  families  started  to 
produce  foodstuffs  and  handmade  goods.  When  they  had 
surpluses,  they  looked  around  for  markets.  Good  roads  were 
desirable,  but  rare,  and  commerce  lagged. 

In  1796  Congress  authorized  Ebcnezcr  Zane  to  open  a 
road  across  Ohio  that  would  connect  Wheeling,  West  Virginia, 
with  Limestone,  Kentucky.     Zanc's  Trace  resulted;  completed 


The    National    Road 


in  1798,  it  went  west  to  Zancsvillc,  then  southwest  through 
Lancaster  and  Chillicothe  to  the  Ohio  River. 

During  the  years  in  which  the  State  of  Ohio  was  being 
formed,  plans  for  a  road  through  it  westward  were  being 
discussed  here  and  in  the  East.  In  1806  Congress  provided 
for  the  building  of  a  road  from  Cumberland,  Maryland,  to 
Wheeling,  West  Virginia.  Work  went  forward  with  few 
difficulties  until  the  road  reached  the  Ohio  River.  TTicn  peti- 
tions were  drawn  up  that  the  road  be  extended  west.  Argument 
and  Congressional  debate  and  Presidential  veto  delayed  the 
project  until  1825,  when  Congress  consented  to  the  exten- 
sion. On  July  4,  1825,  amid  speeches  and  fire-crackers  and 
refreshments,  ground  for  the  road  in  Ohio  was  broken  at 
St.  Clairsville. 

The  road  crept  west  section  by  section;  it  reached  Zanes- 
ville  in  1826,  Columbus  in  1833,  and  Springfield  in  1838. 
The  stretch  from  Springfield  to  the  Indiana  line  was  cleared 
in  1840,  but  it  was  not  an  improved  road  until  many  decades 
later. 

The  State  of  Ohio  was  now  neatly  bisected — and  conven- 
iently tied  together — East  to  West.  The  National  Road  did  not, 
however,  stop  at  the  Indiana  boundary ;  later  additions  brought 
it  across  the  Indiana  and  Illinois  plains  to  the  Mississippi.  As 
U.  S.  40  it  continued  west  across  the  great  prairie  States, 
crossed  the  Rocky  Mountains  in  Colorado,  struck  north  to 
Salt  Lake  City,  then  west  through  Nevada,  over  the  Sierra 
Nevada  Mountains  to  San  Francisco. 

Traffic  in  Ohio  did  not,  of  course,  await  total  completion 
of  the  road  within  the  State.  Almost  from  the  day  it  was  first 
begun  at  St.  Clairsville,  the  road  became  an  important  local 
artery  connecting  with  the  East.    It  was  significant  as  the  first 


The    National    Road 


great  thrust  of  the  United  States  over  the  Appalachians;  and 
as  it  was  extended  west,  it  became  the  great  national  highway 
for  Western  migration. 

Taverns,  mile  markers,  a  few  museum  pieces,  and  possibly 
several  other  traces  remain  of  the  life  on  the  National  Road 
during  its  heyday  from  about  1830  to  the  Civil  War.  Many 
people  important  still — men  like  Henry  Clay,  women  like 
Jenny  Lind — traveled  the  road  and  stopped  at  the  taverns. 
And  there  are  many  stories  about  them — for  example,  the  one 
about  William  Henry  Harrison  and  Martin  Van  Buren,  who 
happened  to  be  campaigning  in  the  same  locality,  just  west  of 
Columbus,  in  1840.  "Old  Tippecanoe"  turned  up  at  a 
tavern,  his  arm  in  a  sling  from  too  much  handshaking,  and 
ordered  drinks  for  the  house;  while  Van  Buren  made  the 
rounds  for  tea  in  the  politest  society. 

The  people  who  lived  along  the  pike  were  envied,  chiefly 
for  the  news  they  gathered  from  the  most  colorful  characters 
on  the  National  Road — the  teamsters  with  pack  trains,  the 
wagoners  with  the  great  Conestoga  freight  ships,  the  stage 
drivers  with  the  gaudy  coaches.  Each  had  distinct  habits  and 
moved  in  separate  circles  of  road  society.  The  wagoners,  for 
example,  drove  long  distances  and  stopped  at  wagon  houses, 
set  back  from  the  road  to  allow  room  for  parking  the  wagons 
and  tying  up  the  horses;  whereas  the  stagecoach  drivers  were 
relieved  at  frequent  intervals  and  stayed  at  the  handsome  inns 
along  with  the  passengers.  The  wagoners,  and  to  some  extent 
the  muleteers,  were  like  the  keelboatmen  en  the  rivers — tough, 
boisterous,  hard-drinking,  full-blooded.  They  ate  and  drank 
and  argued  and  brawled  with  the  full  vigor  stimulated  by  a 
hard,  healthy  life.  Great  men,  such  as  Tom  Corwin,  rose 
from  the  ranks  of  the  wagoners. 


The    National    Road 


The  stage  coach  drivers  were  chosen  for  their  driving 
skill,  weight  and  strength,  and  sociability.  Their  reputations 
were  about  like  those  of  today's  movie  heroes;  traveling 
celebrities  often  selected  their  drivers  and  were  themslvcs 
honored  by  the  asscKiation.  They  rode  in  gay  coaches  named 
for  Presidents  and  explorers  and  Indian  chiefs  and  other  famous 
people — on  stage  coach  lines  called  the  Oyster,  the  June  Bug, 
the  Good  Intent,  and  other  peculiar  things. 

Those  were  not  the  only  people  on  the  move.  Whole 
families  came  along  the  National  Road  in  their  own  small 
canvas-covered  wagons;  individuals  on  foot  and  horseback 
frequently  ambled  by.  These  travelers  encamped  near  the 
taverns  so  that  they  could  mingle  with  the  fun-lovers  without 
going  to  the  expense  of  lodging  in  the  building. 

After  the  Civil  War,  when  the  railroad  began  to  supersede 
other  modes  of  transportation,  travel  on  the  National  Road 
declined.  North  of  the  road,  cities  were  enlarging  with  new 
heavy  industries;  south  of  it,  the  old  centers  of  skilled  industry, 
such  as  Cincinnati,  adapted  themselves  more  slowly  to  the  new 
machine  age.  Then  interurban  electric  railways  drove  tracks 
along  the  road,  and  people  traveled  for  pleasure — a  trend  stimu- 
lated sharply  when  the  automobile  became  practical.  Within 
recent  years  a  vast  volume  of  freight  has  been  carried  on  the 
road. 

Such,  briefly,  is  the  pageant  of  travel  on  the  National 
Road.  It  is  hard  to  overestimate  the  importance  of  the  road  in 
spreading  the  products  and  people  of  the  United  States  and  at 
the  same  time  integrating  the  country.  The  National  Road  has 
been  the  migratory,  exchange,  and  unifying  medium  of  a  new 
Nation,  and  it  is  still  the  carrier  of  a  huge  interstate  traffic  that 
continues  its  historic  functions. 


The     National    Road 


The  Song 

"Poet: 

Hear,  Traveler! 

The  road, 

slipping  between  hillsides, 

grows  garrulous  with  age, 

wishes  to  speak. 

Traveler,  listen: 

This  road 

US-40,  Ohio, 

is  important, 

the  Rational  %o2id. 

with  a  history. 

This  road  takes  rank  with 

the  Oregon  Trail, 

the  Sante  Je  Trail, 

the  i^orthwcst  Tassage 

(still  undiscovered) , 

and  the  golden  road 

to  Samarkand. 

This  road,  I  say,  is  important, 

the  first  travelers'  way 

through  the  forest. 

Where  dust  rose 

from  the  horses'  hooves, 

where  whips  cracked 

and  drivers'  curses, 

where  iron  rims 

of  the  wagons  jolted, 

the  smooth  purr 

of  the  auto  pours 

cloud-easy  motion. 


10 


The    National    Road 


IA[ow,  Traveler  —  the  <^oad. 

%oad: 

It  was  long,  the  completion  — 

section  after  section 

layer  after  layer 

rippling  westward  — 

it  was  long  ...  it  took  years.  .  .  . 

Up  in  the  mountains, 

holding  their  sides, 

bending  to  valleys, 

through  night  and  day  and  weather, 

time  forwards  I  have  wondered, 

longing  for  completion; 

and  in  the  hot  grasses, 

hiding  and  sleeping, 

in  the  soft  grass  lengths, 

leaning  with  wind, 

I  dreamed  of  meeting 

the  mighty  ^Mississippi. 

Ration: 

It  was  a  hard  job, 

fighting  the  rock 

ribs  of  the  mountains. 

cAnd  at  first 

you  were  merely 

a  blaze  in  the  forest, 

but  soon  became 

a  track  for  mules 

with  serpentine  trains. 

Like  a  tendril  of  ivy, 

you  clung  to  the  mountains, 

vine-grasping  the  roughness, 

at  times  growing  swiftly  — 

Jonah's  gourd  swiftness  — 

a  tentacle  seeking 

the  heart  of  a  continent. 


The    National    Road 


11 


c/fnd  I  remembered 
you  as  a  buffalo  trace, 
where  the  hooves 
of  the  hump-beasts 
pounded  the  earth 
to  a  pavement. 

'Jioad: 

The  buffalo! 

I  remember  their  trampling; 

they  built  mc 

with  music  of  thunder, 

shook  by  feet  asunder, 

I  knew  them  well: 

liquid  eyes  in  massive  heads, 

shaggy-haired,  low  legs  racing 

the  path  they  bared 

from  the  saline  shore  of  'Baltimore 

to  Ohio's  fertile  land; 

beyond  the  dense  and  thick-shrubbed  forests 

their  dust-clad  thunder  ran, 

and  rolled  oflf  into  quiet 

with  the  coming-in  of  man. 

They  b^at  my  pattern  hard 

on  the  slippery  river  fords, 

the  soft  tangle  of  the  canebrakes, 

the  bare  solid  on  the  ridges. 


'ly'  /  /y/ 


Ration: 

Others  came: 

the  people  of  the  mounds; 

the  Indian  with  his  singing 

marking  his  way 

on  saplings 

like  that  one, 

now  a  crooked 

tree  pattern 

on  the  Rational  'Road. 


names  for  rivers, 


12 


The    National    Road 


^oef; 

Such  trails  as  these  had  interlaced 
the  land  God  blessed  the  most ; 
and  trails  the  hunting  Indian  traced 
became  the  highway  for  a  host. 

The  strands  were  caught  up  and  entwined, 
twisted  towards  the  setting  sun, 
and  the  national  motto's  well  designed 
to  fit  the  road:  "From  many,  one." 

'lioad: 

cAnd  I  can  tell  how  all  this  came  to  be, 
how  all  these  paths  were  joined  in  me. 
Jrom  Cumberland  to  Wheeling  first  I  trailed, 
across  the  cv^ppalachian  fountains  sailed, 
against  the  c/^llegheny  uplands  fought, 
into  the  valley  travelers  brought, 
turned  in  sweeping  spirals  west, 
joining  paths  that  were  thought  best, 
steadily  through  the  valleys  swept, 
where  silence  and  a  wildness  slept. 


iJ^>Gi'». 


O  and  those  lands 

through  which  I  sped 

were  beautiful, 

though  full  of  dread 

and  stained  where  men 

were  dead 

from  violence. 

The  land  was  savage  then 

(claws  and  wings) 

where  farmers 

are  at  peace 

with  soil  and  man 

and  hoe 

the  corn  for  bread. 


The    National    Road  13 


I  was  the  slow  course  of  empire, 

barely  preceding  it. 

e//long  the  barren  fiastern  rocks 

where  the  (polonies  chafed, 

between  mountains  and  sea, 

the  small,  torn  trails 

of  bridle-paths 

linked  stream  to  stream 

and  town  to  town. 

^n  franklin, 

loyal  servant  to  the  king, 

for  trade  was  westward  seeking. 

In  the  year  1744 

the  English,  westward  sneaking 

for  land,  sought  the  Iroquois. 

*T'hrough  the  wild,  bushy  stand 

of  this  virgin  timber  land 

(tree  on  aged  tree) 

Then  came  a  band  of  men 

who  had  been  hired  when 

the  King  had  named  his  plan 

"Ohio  C^mpuny." 

They  had  to  cut 

and  widen  out 

a  one-man  trail 

made  before 

by  i^emacolin, 

whose  Indian  eye 

and  hand 

had  marked 

a  sinuous  trail 

along  his  people's  paths. 

In  this  small  group 
was  Washington, 
young  surveyor 


14 


The    National    Road 


£cLUA,<zJ.9-€iXjC 


to  be  purveyor 
of  freedom 
to  the  |A(ation. 

Ration: 

It  was  a  time  of  struggle! 
(French  and  'British  fight) 
O  the  great  days  of  battle! 
(fleur-de-lys  on  the  waters, 
the  St.  Lawrence,  the  Lakes, 
the  father  of  Waters; 
Union  Jack  on  the  coastline, 
furling  west,  and  north 
toward  (panada.) 

1755.  *Braddock  marched 

an  army  through. 

Washington,  aide-de-camp, 

knew  the  forest. 

Slashing  through, 

four  abreast 

to  Laurel  Hill 

turning  south, 

they  cut  this  wagon  road 

in  1755. 

Foolhardy  'Braddock  marched  along, 

and  the  Indians  hummed  his  funeral  song, 

and  there  wjas  musket  and  martial  music, 

arrows  humming  and  crackling  guns  .  .  . 

(musket  crack  and  arrow  song) 

"Braddock  stumbling  in  wild  abandon  .  .  . 

(orations  gasp  and  cry  and  cheer) 

men  reeling  with  silent  sabre  strokes 

*5Poor  "Braddock,  dying  in  a  barbarous  meadow. 

(Washington  bought 

the  ^reat  Meadows 

where  ^Braddock  died.) 


The    National    Road  15 


%oad: 

cAnd  all  this  time 
I  slept  in  the  mind 
of  Washington 
through  all  the  turmoil 
of  the  fighting 
the  shouting 
and  the  clamor, 

"Poet: 

Who  spread  this  aisle  '  ^=^9r«3» 

between  the  arching  trees? 

Who  marked  the  course 

and  charted  out  the  way? 

It  ran  through  all 

the  tortuous  valleys,  climbed 

the  slippery  hills, 

and  slithered  through  the  vales, 

then  crept  out  on  the  prairie 

like  a  snake, 

sinuous 

and  beautiful. 

|A(o  man  could  vision  this, 

this  mighty  spread 

of  aisle  for  league 

on  weary  league — 

all  through  the  Territory, 

winding  to  the  ©Mississippi, 

inching 

towards 

the  rufiiing  prairie, 

mile  on  mile 

of  gasping  grass, 

Ration: 
cA  man  is  nothing. 
This  goes  beyond 
the  brain  of  man, 


16  The    National    Road 


beyond  his  finite  powers; 

it's  shaped 

by  great  events  — 

like  the  urge  that 

forced  Leviathan 

to  hulk  up  from  the  deep 

and  batter  out 

his  life  upon  the  shore. 

1776.    "Revolution 

(tea  and  taxes) 

uniforms  and  drums 

bright  red  uniforms  and  drums, 

minute  men  in  farmer's  clothes — 

bright  blood  stains  on  any  clothes  — 

and  liberty, 

a  nation  born, 

a  bright  new  flag 

of  happy  stars 

and  memorable 

stripes. 

1776.  Two  Zanes, 
from  the  £ast, 
bent  west 
and  settled  Wheeling. 

'Jioad: 

Out  of  the  "iPennsylvania  mountains, 

down  the  valley  of  Ohio,  leaping 

the  river,  threading  the  forest, 

white  blaze  on  dark  trees, 

I  came, 

seeking  Zanc. 

That  was  the  forest ! 

the  greatest  stand 

of  hard  timber 

ever  seen; 


The    National    Road 


17 


I  ran  through  it 
like  a  handsaw 
through  walnut. 

illation: 

1784.  cA  man  with  a  map 

on  a  rough  table 

in  the  crude  cabin, 

peering  at  the  map,  searching 

a  way  over  the  broken  backs 

of  frowning  mountains, 

pince-nez  on  his  nose, 

staring  at  the  map. 

There! 

the  door  rattled, 

a  stride  across 

the  earthen  floor, 

the  young  man,  ^allatin. 

(In  Tennessee 

a  town  was  named  for  him.) 

Speaking  to  Washington, 

"Cumberland  ^ap  dumber  Two" 

(he  was  certain  and  pointing) 

"is  the  only  logical  way." 

cAnd  Qallatin  and  Jcflferson, 

the  Ohio  Company, 

and  others 

looking  west 

with  vision, 

in  1787 

by  an  act 

of  Congress 

made  the  Old  Northwest 

ready  for  the  settler. 

Then  over  me  came  families 
full  of  the  west-hunger, 
bringing  change. 


18 


The    National    Road 


Slowly  they  came, 

a  small  trickle 

spotting  the  wilderness, 

settlers,  squatters, 

holding  the  land 

by  rifle  rights, 

watching  the  wary  Indian. 

"Road: 

Ho,  I  remember  their  coming, 

fair-skinned  men  of  the  £ast, 

contentious, 

loud-voiced, 

urging  the  horses 

straining  in  mud 

with  great  Conestogas. 

They  came  in  under  the  frown  of  the  savage 

(guns  and  frowns  and  arrows)  ; 

they  cut  their  clearings  like  sores  in  the  forest, 

new-raw  on  dark  green, 

pushing  the  strength 

of  a  brash  new  nation. 

Then  the  war-cry  started  ringing, 

Indian  hatred  started  singing 

paeans  against  squatters 

staining  shores  of  clear,  cool  waters ; 

screaming  women,  musket  powder, 

made  the  conflict  all  the  louder. 

Came  "^ad"  c/^nthony  with  horses, 

routed  all  the  Indian  forces. 

This  occurred  in  '94 

and  opened  wide  my  settlers'  door. 

Ohio: 

I  enter  here, 

though  not  formally, 

through  fibcnezer  Zane, 


The    National    Road 


19 


who  made  a  way 
from  Wheeling 
to  Zanesville 
then  southward 
to  Limestone 
(now  ^^aysvillc), 
Kentucky. 

amasses  from  the  south  and  east 
pushing  to  the  north  and  west, 
crossing  my  beautiful  rivers, 
crowding  my  tumbling  hills, 
gouging  my  plains  with  the  plow, 
tearing  my  forest  with  axes  — 
these, 

settling  me, 
trampled  the  road 
into  being. 

Ration: 

1802.  S^^n  gathered 

in  solemn  session 

(people  and  papers  and  talk) 

four  times 

gravely  thinking. 

<A  new  State? 

Yes,  it  was  good. 

Said  the  leaders  of  law: 

"We  give  you  an  (lAct 

to  finable  the  people 

to  establish  as  fact 

the  State  of  Ohio." 

I  marked  my  property 

in  1803. 


Zxm&i  c/Ohajze^ 


20 


The    National    Road 


"Poet: 

Ohio, 

I  have  dreamed  of  seeing 
a  chain  of  people  moving; 
and  in  my  dream  these 
smoke-thin  ghosts  of  men 
(great  bodies,  full  curses, 
hard  with  the  bottle,  hard  with  life) 
were  singing,  singing, 
looking 
west. 

THE  PIONEERS 

We  heard  of  Ohio, 

we  heard  of  the  road, 

we  crossed  the  stern  mountains 

with  the  lightest  of  load. 

We  followed  the  river 
where  it  wandered  between 
the  hills  and  the  heights 
and  the  meadow's  rich  green. 


*>i«*- 


We  came  with  guns  ready, 
with  listening  ear; 
who  knew  when  the  warwhoop 
would  strike  us  a-near? 

We  came  with  the  rifle 
preceding  the  axe, 
our  cattle  urged  forward 
by  smarting  whipcracks. 

We  knew  not  the  glamor 
of  the  frontier  romance  — 
books  sold  by  the  thousand 
in  Cngland  and  prance. 


The    National    Road 


21 


Our  life  was  held  close 
in  rough,  calloused  hands 
toiling  darkness  to  darkness 
on  thorn-bearing  lands. 

The  lands  farther  west 
were  those  full  of  gold, 
which  Spaniards  through  finding 
and  force  could  still  hold. 

'But  we,  we  had  cabins, 
had  children  and  farms, 
and  we  couldn't  listen 
to  gold's  siren-song  charms. 

cAnd  though  we  dreamed  fondly 
of  making  that  quest, 
we  had  traveled  our  distance.  .  .  . 
Our  sons  took  the  West. 

%oad: 

Those  were  the  first  settlers, 
(after  explorers  and  trappers) 
clearing  land  for  cabins  -r- 
tree-rich  land  of  Ohio 
and  mellow  flood  plains — 
before  I  was  builded. 

Ohio: 

They  built  business 
and  commerce 
and  had  much 
to  sell. 
*iBut  roads 
to  the  £ast 
were  rutty 
enough  to  hold 
a  horse. 


22 


The    National    Road 


The  wisdom 

of  the  men 

who  gave  me 

statehood 

had  provided 

for  a  sinking  fund; 

money  saved 

till  1806 

was  found  enough 

to  start 

the  |A(ational  <7^oad. 


lioad: 

The  work  began 

in  1808; 

I  first  reached  out 

in  Ohio 

at  St.  C^airsville, 

July  fourth, 

1825. 

Statesmen 

spaded  the  earth; 

there  was  clamor  of  fire-works 

and  spouting  of  words, 

liberal  drinking 

and  raising  of  glasses. 

That  was  good.  Then 

came  excitement 

and  fever-straining  men, 

hammers  thumping, 

picks  pinging, 

great,  strong  bodies 

making  a  highway. 


6very  soul 
that  traveled 
ten  miles 
of  my  length 


The    National    Road 


23 


paid  toll, 

life  blood, 

my  renewal. 

farrow-rimmed  wheels 

that  cut  my  surface 

sometimes  to  the  binding  — 

these  I  charged  most; 

so  wheels  were  broad. 

The  sharp  hooves  of  cattle, 

the  iron  horse -shoes, 

even  the  slow, 

heavy-shod  oxen 

dug  deep 

through  the  limestone, 

and  everything  paid  me  toll.  .  .  . 


■^.^^-:^l0. 


c/^nd  in  the  winter 

(if  you  were  behind  the  wagoner) 

you  could  see  him  cut  the  ice 

with  a  gadget  like  a  sled 

hcK)ked  under  the  sliding  hind- wheels, 

or  with  a  chain 

or  a  thing  like  a  plow 

somehow  stuck 

upon  the  rear. 


Ohio: 

There  were 

men  of  the  road 

hauling  freight 

like  the 

keelboatmcn 

on  rivers. 

The  hearty  wagoners 

loved  food 

and  whiskey  and  songs, 

old  stories,  lusty  jokes, 

and  deep  laughter. 


-/tt^rysi/itte 


ENGLEWOOD      SPRINGFIELD  ^°4ial21iS. 


j„,6A0"«"»^' 


26 


The    National    Road 


cAt  night 

they  lay 

in  a  large  half-circle, 

at  the  vast  fireplace. 

Their  horses, 

never  stabled, 

wore  a  blanket, 

from  a  feed  trough  ate 

at  the  rear  of  the  freight. 

cAnd  a  wagon  house  yard 

on  many  a  night 

held  many  tired  horses 

by  the  side 

of  many  heavy  wagons, 

while  inside 

many  swarthy  drivers 

acted  as  described. 

"Poet: 

In  summer  they  slept  by  campfirc  light 
under  slim  breezes  and  the  starry  night, 
their  bulky  sweat-flecked  horses  right 
near  the  wagoner's  snores. 

"Road: 

cA  coachman's  life 

was  gentler  strife 

of  dash  and  whirl  and  whoa! 

then  off  again 

with  a  freshened  team 

to  another 

"^iddap,  let's  go." 


There  was  dust  galore 
and  rickety-rock  noise 
of  wriggling  door 
and  creaking  floor 
and  the  driver's  voice 


The     National    Road 


27 


and  the  coach's  horns 

as  it  madly  tore 

past  well-stocked  barns. 

Then  the  coachman's  roar 

as  faster,  faster  still 

it  gave  its  passengers 

a  thrill 

or  chill 

(or  spill, 

though  rare) . 

The  swaying  top 

on  its  leather  springs 

took  up  again 

its  rhythmic  swing 

past  the  crunch,  crunch, 

of  a  freighter  string, 

with  a  galloping  rush 

rolled  into  a  ring 

of  excited  folk, 

where  the  tavern  king 

filled  his  hands  to  bring 

the  welcome  of  the  house. 

(v^nd  then,  the  meal! 

Ration: 

What  game  and  fish 
and  crops 
and  fellowship 
were  made 
for  aught  but 
a  coach  stop? 

"Road: 

It  took  skill  of  great  order 

to  keep  the  coach  to  the  border, 

as  the  charioteer 

the  coach  would  veer 


28 


The    National    Road 


past  rock-spincd  ledges 

down  sharp  hill-cdgcs, 

hands  tense, 

feet  braced. 

c/fround  and  away 

dived  the  horses, 

their  manes  and 

their  forces 

tightly  strained, 

to  the  valley 

to  the  roadside 

to  the  relay  post, 

where  the  harness  was  stripped 

and  fresh  horses  departed. 


cAnd  once 

there  came 

down  the  road 

one  of  the  stages, 

hard-driven,  careening; 

it  made  a  bad  turn, 

spilling 

Henry  C^zy 

from  the  Concord  (7oach. 

"Kentucky  C^slJ'"  he  muttered, 

"meeting  Ohio  limestone." 

"Poet: 

Those  old  Concord  coaches! 

(in  museums  now) 

When  you  sat  on  the  driver's  seat 

you  could  sec  all  around  — 

up  to  the  motionless  blue  above 

and  down  to  the  whizzing  ground 

over  and  past  the  forest  greens, 

across  their  rolling  tops, 

far  to  the  front 

and  to  left  and  right 


The    National    Road 


29 


to  where  the  horizon  drops. 
•But  those  hills  and  colors, 
those  sights  and  streams, 
that  sky  and  clouds, 
they're  all  gone  now 
and  are  merely  the  stuff 
which  the  dreamer  sees. 

Ohio: 

cAnd  laws  were  passed 

to  care  for  the  road — 

a  dungeon 

and  bread  and  water 

or  a  fine  of  500 

for  those  who'd  dare 

deface  the  Rational  ^^^oad. 


c/^nd  I  compelled  each  person 
to  contribute  two  days 
towards  your  repair 
annually. 

So  great  was  the  traffic, 
so  large  the  number 
of  people  who  traveled 
and  tons  of  freight, 
that  towns  laid  stones, 
a  misleading  line, 
to  lure  the  profit 
off  the  ftA(ational  <^oad. 


%oad: 

The  year  was  1840, 

a  lazy  date  with  history, 

when  I  reached 

the  level  plains 

of  Indiana. 


30 


The    National    Road 


Traveler: 

Then  did  you  stop 
and  rest,  content 
to  grow  old, 
wrinkling 
undisturbed? 


%oad: 

eA(o!  the  restless 

energy  of  the  lA^ation 

pushed  me  further 

into  the  newness  and  rawness 

rough  with  challenge. 

cAnd  afterwards 

along  that  stretch 

came  trail  blazers 

anxious  to  leave, 

anxious  to  trammel 

new  forest. 

I  followed  their  lead. 

Let  me  tell  you, 

what  man  has  felt  I've  felt. 

I've  known  the  rhythmic,  ceaseless 

fall  of  hammers, 

I've  known  the  breathless,  sweatful 

afternoons 

when  there  was  no  wind 

springing  up  among  the  hills 

that  cling  to  the  streams 

like  timid  lovers. 

I  strove  to  reach  the  prairie, 
in  a  westward  push 
that  brought  the  Ration 
to  the  princely  'Rockies 
(pile  on  pile  of  tiring, 
heavy  stone) 


The    National    Road 


31 


and  beyond. 
cAnd  all  that  time 
I  was  alive, 
beating  with  traffic. 

I  left  behind 

the  many-tongued  taverns, 

the  relay  stations  for  stages, 

the  tollgates  clustering 

the  woodpiles  cluttering 

the  roadway, 

fringed  thickly  with  farms 

quietly  watching  the  pageant.  .  .  . 

0  and  I  leaped  West! 

1  leaped  west  with  the  hungerers,   the  never- 

tired  dreamers! 
I  ran  across  the  prairies  with  fire-speed 
I  slunk  through  brown  foothills 
I  splashed  through  the  rivers 
I  clattered  a  wild  way  toward  the  mountains, 
the  god- forsaken  "Rockies 
geyser-rilling  with  triumphant 
westward-singing  people  — 
the  course,  not  of  empire, 
but  of  emperors  who  cried, 
"We'll  cross  the  Continent!" 

"Poet: 

cAnd  those  stay-at-homes,  those  farmers, 
what  did  they  think  and  say? 

%oad: 

They  spoke  of  all  the  restless  men 
that  came  in  here  and  left  again; 
they  spoke  of  all  the  fabulous  lands 
awaiting  those  same  nervous  hands 
along  the  west,  where  £1  'Dorado 
and  all  the  rich  dream  lands  of  shadow 


,pir.ir5^5><^=^' 


32 


The    National    Road 


the  solid  world  has  ever  known 

vanish  under  the  falling  sun. 

They  spoke  of  all  these  roamers'  crimes, 

deplored  the  passing  of  good  old  times; 

they  preached  to  their  sons  that  home  was  best, 

while  their  eyes  were  hungry  with  looking  west. 

Ration: 

Came  a  chug  of  smoke 
and  a  little  black  bug, 
with  a  big,  spouting  funnel, 
rolling  thin-spoked  wheels 
on  threads  called  steel 
over  the  hills  and  through 
in  tunnels. 

cAnd  he  grew  and  he  grew 
and  he  pulled  and  he  pulled 
till  he  stretched 
from  sea  to  sea. 

^oet: 

Years  of  slackened  motion 
on  the  .Rational  <^oad 
while  the  Ration 
reached  the  other  ocean. 

%oad: 

Then  a  spark  gave  power, 

and  cars  click-clicked 

along  the  tracks 

that  flanked  me. 

cA  thread  of  light 

lay  on  the  way; 

a  thin  horn  moaned. 

The  cattle  bellowed, 

the  horses  jumped, 

the  farmer  cussed, 

and  pulled  his  shay 

aside. 


The    National    Road  33 


H^ation: 

c/fbout  1908 

a  growl-chug  voice, 

four  turning  legs, 

changed  the  transportation 

and  the  ways 

of  living 

in  a  Ration. 

%oad: 

I  have  to  wear  ^%Sp^f  ^<< 

a  stiff  front  shirt  made  out  of  cement 
and  work  at  night  through  hours  (spent 
by  former  drivers  sound  in  bed) 
now  filled  with  rumbling  tire-tread. 

H^ation: 

^rom  coast  to  coast 
the  longest  stretch 
of  paved  road 
in  the  world! 

Ohio: 

Engineering  improvements 
and  features  of  note 
I  might  here  mention 
arc  part  of  the  road. 

e^o  more  quick  bumps 
as  you  ride  on  cement 
wherever  is  placed  a  steel  bar, 
instead  of  the  former  black  tar; 
here  is  a  new  kind  of  joint, 
"^on-extruding  expansion." 
The  point 
is  comfort, 
ease-floating. 


34 


The    National    Road 


c/^nother  wrinkle  in 
a  new  road's  life 
is  the  clover  leaf, 
a  way  designed 
to  lessen  time 
and  traffic  strife. 

I  have  had  great  trouble. 
•Between  railroads  and  tollroads, 
the  canal  and  the  river, 
(railroads  running  steel 
through  the  river, 
life  line  of  the  valley) 
there  was  clamor  and  uproar, 
nowhere  peace  in  the  valley. 

Where  the  boat-horn  had  made  sweet  music 
the  steam-whistle  screamed  out  its  signals. 
cAnd  people  began  telling  time, 
not  by  clocks  or  by  watches, 
but  by  dumber  four's  whistle 
at  the  local  grade  crossing. 
"She's  on  time,"  they'd  say, 
or  "She's  two  minutes  late." 


"Road: 

cAnd  now  your  commerce  wheels 

a  mighty  tide  along; 

there's  not  a  soul  but  feels 

the  fervor  of  the  song 

sung  by  leviathans, 

with  wheels  of  juggernaut; 

where  horses  used  to  prance, 

they  move  like  soul-seared  thought. 

Their  eyes  split  up  the  darkness; 

they  need  no  other  light. 

I  am  your  pride,  O  Ration, 

symbolic  of  your  might. 


The    N  a  tional    Road 


35 


^ahum,  the  prophet,  foretold 

thousands  of  years  ago: 

The  chariots  shall  rage 

in  the  streets, 

they  shall  jostle 

one  against  another 

in  the  broad  ways: 

they  shall  seem  like  torches. 

they  shall  run  like  the  lightnings. 

Ration: 

^rom  coast  to  coast 
the  longest  stretch 
of  paved  road 
in  the  world ! 

Stiff  with  pride  and  hard  cement, 
the  road  lies 
between  stately  rows 
of  wire-draped  poles  — 
jnonotonous  throng 
of  people's  voices. 

*Poef: 

^one  the  loud  color  of  drivers, 

with  their  great  noises! 

"The  noise  of  a  whip, 

and  the  noise 

of  the  rattling 

of  the  creaking  wheels, 

of  the  thudding 

of  the  prancing  horses.  ..." 

^oad: 

*But  there  are  other  noises: 
the  snicker  of  tire 
treads  on  the  concrete, 


36 


The    National    Road 


the  feverish,  strident 
blast  of  the  klaxon 
(out-stcntoring  Stentor!) 
the  labored  throb 
of  trucks  straining 
against  the  hill  slopes. 

^o  more  the  great,  dark  forests! 
their  depths  and  secrecies  no  morel 

Ohio: 

Those  depths  and  secrecies  were  danger. 

See  the  a^adonna: 

a  woman,  with  a  man's  courage. 

her  breath  caught  up  in  fear, 

an  arm  for  a  babe 

an  arm  for  a  rifle 

against  danger. 

•pain  and  hard  work 

and  women  to  endure  them 

and  bear  the  sons 

for  a  growing  Ration: 

".  .  .  we  came  with  brave  women  .  .  . 

consecrated  to  .  .  .  making  ten  tall  sons  .  .  . 

where  .  .  .  only  one  savage  had  been." 

That  was  the  stuflf  of  roadways, 

*Poef; 

tSp  more  the  glad,  brave  nights  of  sleepless  stars, 
no  more  the  rough-hewn  friendliness  of  tavern 
bars. 

H^ation: 

^cver  again,  and  better  so! 

It  took  hard  men  to  sleep  outside  — 

skin,  a  blanket,  then  frost  — 

and  the  barroom  fights  were  murders. 


The    National    Road  37 


|7\(ow  there  arc  tourist  cabins, 

row  on  neat  row, 

water  inside 

or  just  outside 

the  door. 

Health  and  cleanliness 

and  well-cooked  food 

and  no  waiting 

for  the  seasons. 

futile  contriver  of  dreams! 
Only  the  road-seekers 
know  the  road! 

Ohio: 

Only  the  road-seekers! 

they  know 

the  marvelous  sweep 

of  sunrise  colors 

topping  the  forward  hill; 

know  greys,  pastels, 

grey  mornings 

when  the  mist 

is  damp  with  rain; 

know  the  thundering 

beat  of  raindrops, 

the  blistering 

of  the  sun. 

They  hear  the  turtle  dove  mourning, 

the  acrid  crow  gloating, 

the  majestic  wheeling 

of  the  buzzard, 

and  the  sumac's 

torch  upon  the  hills, 

the  red  and  yellow 

and  gold  and  haze 

of  Indian  summer, 

and  the  strange  delight 

of  far  new  places! 


38 


The    National    Road 


%oad: 

Only  they  know 

the  lure  of  changing  skyline. 

Only  they  know 

my  proud  triumph  over  rivers, 

over  mountains, 

my  speed  over  the  plains, 

my  weltering  in  the  cities, 

my  proud  contemplation 

of  two  brave  seas! 

Only  they  know 

the  sleepiness  of  farms, 

the  sharp  whiteness 

of  my  winter  glittering, 

the  drip  of  tree  blossoms, 

trees  arched  on  the  road, 

the  long  aisles  of  trees, 

the  majestic  monotone 

of  telegraph  poles, 

my  sharp  turns 

and  sudden  surprises! 

Sing,  contriver  of  dreams, 
sing  of  the  glad  days  to  come 
on  the  Rational  *^oad, 
of  my  path  to  the  seas, 
my  road  to  the  sun! 


!»&■> 


The     National    Road  39 


The    .Milestones 

1749  A  Group  of  Virginians  received  a  grant  of  land  in  the 
Ohio  country  from  King  George  II,  of  England,  and 
formed  the  first  Ohio  Company. 

1750  Christopher  Gist  was  employed  by  the  first  Ohio 
Company  to  blaze  a  roadway  from  Cumberland,  Mary- 
land, to  the  Ohio  River,  via  Pittsburgh,  and  to  report 
on  land  values  in  the  Ohio  country. 

1752  Gist  arranged  with  Nemacolin,  a  Delaware  Indian,  to 
mark  out  a  path  for  this  roadway. 

1755  General  Braddock  constructed  a  military  road  along 
the  path  laid  out  by  Christopher  Gist,  going  west  from 
Cumberland  to  Laurel  Hill,  Pennsylvania,  then  north- 
west to  Fort  Duqucsne.  General  Braddock  was  defeated 
near  Fort  Duquesne,  July  19,  and  died  at  Great 
Meadows  four  days  later. 

1784  General  Washington  and  Albert  Gallatin  discussed 
possibility  of  a  road  through  Pennsylvania. 

1796  Colonel  Ebenezer  Zane  received  permission  from 
the  Continental  Congress  on  March  25  to  open  a  road 
from  Wheeling,  Virginia  (now  West  Virginia),  to 
Limestone  (now  MaysvUle) ,  Kentucky. 

1799  John  McIntire  erected  a  tavern  at  Zanesville,  Ohio. 

1802  Jacob  Haltz  opened  a  tavern  at  St.  Clairsville,  Ohio. 
Congress  appropriated  $30,000  to  defray  expense  of 
laying  out  and  making  a  national  road,  April  14. 
The  Enabling  Act  granting  a  State  Government  for 
Ohio  was  passed  by  Congress  on  April  30. 

1803  Ohio  was  admitted  into  the  Union  as  a  State,  March  1. 
A  Compact  Was  Made  between  Ohio  and  the  Federal 
Government  agreeing  on  a  two  percent  levy  on  all  Con- 
gress land  sales  in  the  State,  to  be  set  aside  for  national 
road  purposes. 

1805  Robert  Taylor  opened  in  Zanesville  a  tavern  called 
the  Orange  Tree. 

On  September  30  it  was  reported  to  Congress  that  the 
Ohio  Congress  land  sales  from  July  1802  to  September 


40  The    National    Road 


1804  amounted  to  $636,040.27,  two  percent  of  which 
($12,652.00)  was  to  be  allotted  to  construction  of  the 
National  Road. 

On  December  19  a  Senate  committee  made  its  report 
to  Congress;  it  suggested  various  routes  to  the  West,  but 
recommended  the  road  from  Baltimore  to  Cumberland 
westward. 

1806  On  March  29,  President  Jefferson  signed  the  Congres- 
sional act  establishing  a  national  highway — to  reach 
from  Cumberland,  Maryland,  to  the  Mississippi,  and  to 
pass  through  the  capitals  of  Ohio,  Indiana,  and  Illinois. 
Zanesville  was  only  city  mentioned  by  name  in  the 
document. 

Jefferson  on  March  29  approved  the  act  empowering 
him  to  appoint  three  commissioners  for  the  National 
Road. 

1808  On  January  1,  the  commissioners  submitted  a  report 
to  the  President  covering  a  survey  made  and  recom- 
mending a  straight  line  to  the  Ohio  River.  The  report 
also  suggested  the  straightening  and  widening  of  the  old 
Braddock  Road  between  Cumberland  and  Laurel  Hill. 

President  Jefferson  reported  to  Congress  approval 
of  the  course  charted  for  the  National  Road.  It  was  to 
go  from  Cumberland  to  Brownsville,  Pennsylvania, 
deviating  to  pass  through  Uniontown,  Pennsylvania. 

Contracts  were  let  for  clearing  the  surveyed  route  of 
the  National  Road  west  of  Cumberland. 
Surveying  was  completed  to  Wheeling. 

1810  Since  Zanesville  was  at  this  time  the  capital  of  Ohio, 
the  State  Legislature  met  in  the  Orange  Tree  Tavern. 

1811  On  March  3,  Congress  authorized  the  President  to 
permit  the  National  Road  to  deviate  from  the  straight 
line  approved,  so  that  it  could  reach  several  towns,  pro- 
vided that  the  road  did  not  miss  the  towns  mentioned 
in  the  law  (Wheeling  and  the  capitals  of  Ohio,  Indiana, 
and  Illinois) . 

President  Madison  directed,  on  March  3,  that 
$50,000  be  paid  from  the  General  Fund  to  the  builders 
of  the  National  Road,  Cumberland  to  Brownsville. 

On  April  6  a  contract  was  let  for  building  the  first  10 
miles  of  the  National  Road  west  of  Cumberland. 


The    National    Road  41 


President  Madison  directed  that  $30,000  be  paid 
from  the  General  Fund  for  the  road  between  Cumber- 
land and  Brownsville,  on  May  6. 

A  Contract  was  let  for  the  second  section  ( 1 1  miles) 
of  the  National  Road  west  of  Cumberland,  in  August. 
First  10  Miles  of  the  road  west  of  Cumberland  were 
completed  in  September,  according  to  the  engineers. 

1813  President  Madison  directed  that  $140,000  be  paid 
from  the  General  Fund  for  the  road. 

A  Contract  was  let  for  the  third  section  (13  miles) 
of  the  road  west  of  Cumberland,  in  August. 

In  September  a  contract  was  let  for  the  fourth  section 
(6>^  miles)  of  the  National  Road  west  of  Cumberland. 

1815  President  Madison  directed  that  $100,000  be  paid 
from  the  General  Fund  for  the  road  west  of  Cumber- 
land, on  February  14. 

The  Second  Section  of  11  miles  was  finished, 
reported  the  engineers. 

1816  President  Monroe  directed  that  $300,000  be  paid 
from  the  General  Fund  for  work  on  the  National  Road 
west  of  Cumberland. 

1817  Jesse  Young  opened  the  Eagle  Tavern  at  Main  Street 
and  Putnam  Bridge,  Zanesville. 

Engineers  announced  the  third  section  of  13  miles  and 
the  fourth  section  of  6j^  miles  of  the  National  Road 
west  of  Cumberland  had  been  completed. 

A  Contract  was  let  for  the  fifth  section  (22  miles) 
west  of  Cumberland. 

1818  The  Road  was  completed  from  Cumberland  to 
Wheeling,  said  the  engineers. 

Benjamin  Harding  opened  a  tavern  at  the  corner  of 
Sixth  and  Main  Streets,  Zanesville,  in  September. 

Stage  Mail  Coaches  started  operations  over  the  road 
from  Washington,  D.  C,  to  Wheeling. 

1819  Cost  of  Completing  the  road  from  Cumberland  to 
Wheeling  reached  $285,000. 


42  The    National    Road 


President  Monroe  directed  that  payment  be  made 
from  the  General  Funds  provided  by  the  States  of  Ohio, 
Indiana,  and  Illinois. 

1820  On  April  11,  President  Monroe  ordered  that  the  bal- 
ance of  $141,000  for  completing  the  National  Road 
between  Washington,  Pennsylvania,  and  Wheeling  be 
paid  out  of  any  money  in  the  United  States  Treasury 
not  otherwise  appropriated. 

On  May  15,  Congress  appropriated  $10,000  to  lay  out 
a  road  80  feet  wide  from  Wheeling  to  the  Mississippi; 
the  President  was  authorized  to  expend  for  the  purpose 
any  monies  in  the  treasury  not  otherwise  appropriated. 

1822  President  Monroe  vetoed  an  act  to  provide  for  preser- 
vation and  repairs  of  the  road  and  to  establish  toll  gates 
along  the  road. 

1823  Congress  Authorized  payment  of  $25,000  for  road 
repairs  between  Cumberland  and  Wheeling. 

President  Monroe  appointed  a  superintendent  of 
repairs  to  be  paid  at  the  rate  of  $3.00  per  day. 

1824  President  Monroe  signed  the  appropriation  bill  for 
the  National  Road. 

The  Ohio  Legislature  conceded  to  the  United  States 
power  to  extend  the  National  Road  through  Ohio. 

1825  President  Monroe  appropriated  $150,000  for  build- 
ing the  National  Road  from  Wheeling  to  the  capital  of 
Missouri — the  Federal  Government  to  survey,  remove 
trees,  grade  the  road,  and  build  all  bridges;  the  States 
to  surface  the  road  with  at  least  nine  inches  of  crushed 
rock. 

Ground  Was  Broken,  on  July  4,  for  the  road  west 
of  Wheeling,  in  front  of  the  courthouse  at  St.  Clairs- 
ville,  Ohio. 

U.  S.  Commissioner  Jonathan  Knight  reported  to 
President  Monroe  in  October  that  the  road  between 
Zanesville  and  Columbus  was  but  one  mile  longer  than 
if  it  were  in  a  perfectly  straight  line,  and  that  no  grade 
in  the  road  exceeded  three  degrees  except  in  the  14-mile 
hilly  section  just  west  of  Zanesville. 

1826  On  March  25  there  was  appropriated  through  the 
Military  Service  $110,749  for  continuation  of  the 
Cumberland   (National)   Road. 


The    National    Road  43 


In  June  Road  Superintendents  Weaver  and  Knight  were 
authorized  by  the  War  Department  to  make  a  perma- 
nent location  of  the  National  Road  between  Fairview 
(Guernsey  County)  and  Zanesville  (Muskingum 
County) . 

The  Engineers  Reported  (in  July)  having  com- 
pleted five  bridges  between  the  Ohio  River  and  Fairview 
without  loss  of  time  or  disability  of  workmen. 

1827  Road  Superintendent  Knight  made  his  report  on 
the  location  of  the  National  Road,  between  Zanesville 
and  Columbus,  to  Congress  on  January  25. 

On  March  2,  Congress  appropriated,  from  the  General 
Fund,  the  sum  of  $170,000  for  construction  of  the  road 
between  Bridgeport  and  Zanesville  and  for  continuing 
the  survey  from  Zanesville  to  St.  Louis. 

On  March  2,  Congress  appropriated  the  sum  of  $510 
due  the  road  superintendent  west  of  Wheeling  and  also 
$30,000  for  repairs  on  the  road  between  Cumberland 
and  Wheeling. 

In  June  the  road  was  completed  from  Bridgeport  to 
St.  Clairsville. 

In  July  the  road  was  completed  from  St.  Clairsville  to 
Fairview  and  Cambridge. 

Contracts  were  let,  on  July  21,  for  constructing  21 
miles  of  the  road  east  of  Zanesville. 

A  Plea  was  made  to  Congress  in  March  to  lead  the 
National  Road  through  Dayton  and  Eaton,  Ohio. 

The  National  Road  between  Bridgeport  and  Cam- 
bridge was  opened  to  the  public  in  July;  at  this  time 
the  road  was  paved  to  Fairview  and  graded  the  rest  of 
the  way  to  Cambridge. 

1828  Stumping  Senator  McDuffie  of  South  Carolina 
predicted  that  if  Andrew  Jackson  were  elected  to  the 
Presidency,  instead  of  John  Quincy  Adams,  the  road 
would  stop  at  Zanesville. 

Ohio  Passed  a  Law,  on  April  1 1 ,  assuming  responsi- 
bility for  permanent  repair  of  the  road. 

Congress  Directed,  on  May  19,  the  appropriation  of 
$175,000  for  completion  of  the  road  to  Zanesville,  the 


44  The    National    Road 


money  to  be  taken  from  the  land  sale  fund  of  Ohio, 
Indiana,  and  Illinois. 

The  Secretary  of  War  relieved  the  President  of  the 
duties  of  directing  the  construction  of  the  road. 

1829  On  March  2.  Congress  authorized  the  appropriation 
of  $100,000  for  opening  the  National  Road  west  of 
Zanesville.  A  contract  was  let  for  building  the  road 
from  Zanesville  to  Columbus. 

Congress  on  March  2  appropriated  $51,600  for  laying 
out  the  National  Road  to  a  width  of  80  feet  east  and 
west  of  Indianapolis.  At  the  same  time  Congress 
authorized  the  hiring  of  a  road  superintendent  at  $800 
a  year. 

Congress  appropriated,  on  March  3,  $100,000  for 
repairing  bridges  on  that  section  of  the  road  between 
Cumberland  and  Wheeling. 

Construction  of  the  road  between  Zanesville  and 
Columbus  was  begun. 

1830  Aaron  L.  Hunt  opened  a  tavern  in  Springfield  beside 
the  route  of  the  National  Road  on  January  1. 

John  Watson  opened  the  Watson  Hotel,  a  stop  for  all 
stage  coaches  in  the  heart  of  Columbus,  April  2. 

James  Robinson  opened  Robinson's  Tavern  in  Colum- 
bus during  April. 

The  United  States  Government  conveyed  all  fin- 
ished sections  of  the  National  Road  to  the  States  through 
which  it  passed. 

Congress  appropriated  $215,000,  mainly  for  opening 
and  grading  the  National  Road  west  of  Zanesville,  and 
in  Indiana  and  Illinois,  May  31. 

In  July  bids  were  advertised  for  building  the  road  west 
of  Columbus. 

The  National  Road,  reported  the  engineers,  was  com- 
pleted to  Zanesville. 

Difficulties  were  met  in  keeping  traffic  on  the  road 
because  of  damage  to  hooves  of  horses  and  cattle.  (Only 
stage  coach  horses  were  shod.) 


The    National    Road  45 


A  Contract  was  let  for  building  the  road  from  Colum- 
bus to  Springfield. 

1831  On  February  4  the  Ohio  Legislature  authorized  the 
erection  of  toll  gates  at  20-mile  intervals  (and  one  to 
a  county)   on  the  National  Road. 

Virginia,  Maryland,  and  Pennsylvania  imposed 
tolls  on  the  National  Road. 

Toll  Gates  were  established  on  the  road  in  Ohio. 

The  Secretary  of  War  superseded  the  President  in 
the  disbursing  of  funds  for  the  road. 

1832  Zanesville'S  Seth  Adams,  tollkeepcr,  reported  the 
year's  National  Road  traffic  east  of  Zanesville  as  follows: 
35,310  men  on  horseback,  16,750  horses  and  mules 
driven,  24,410  sheep  driven,  52,845  hogs  driven, 
96,323  cattle  driven,  14,907  one-horse  carriages,  11,613 
two-horse  carriages  and  wagons,  2,357  wagons  with 
three  horses. 

John  Noble  opened  the  National  Hotel  and  Ohio  Stage 
Line  office  in  Columbus. 

Henry  Clay,  United  States  Senator  from  Ken- 
tucky, traveled  the  National  Road  frequently.  When  a 
stage  overturned,  he  declared  to  the  driver:  "This,  sir, 
is  mixing  Kentucky  Clay  with  Ohio  limestone." 

1833  William  Neil,  Columbus,  was  refused  permission,  by 
a  State  legislative  vote  of  18  to  17,  to  operate  seven 
steam  carriages  over  the  road. 

J.  Robinson  ^  Sons  opened  a  tavern  in  Columbus 
along  the  road,  on  December  14. 

The  National  Road  was  completed  from  Zanesville 
to  Columbus,  according  to  the  engineers. 

Toll  Charges  on  the  National  Road  for  the  year 
netted  the  State  of  Ohio  $12,259.42. 

1834  A  Report  noted  there  were  two  taverns  to  every  mile 
of  the  road  in  Ohio  between  the  Ohio  River  and  Zanes- 
ville. 

Four  Stage  Lines  were  put  into  operation  on  the 
National  Road  in  Ohio — Ohio  State  Company,  Citizens 
Line,  Peoples  Line,  and  Good  Intent  Line. 


46  The    National    Road 


On  March  3  an  act  passed  by  Congress  directed  the 
Secretary  of  War  to  survey  the  possibility  of  having  the 
road  from  Springfield,  Ohio,  to  Richmond,  Indiana,  go 
via  Dayton  and  Eaton. 

The  National  Road  Committee  of  the  United 
States  Senate,  on  April  5,  debated  continuation  of  the 
National  Road  through  Ohio,  Indiana,  and  Illinois. 

The  United  States  Congress  considered  a  bill,  on 
May  1 7,  proposing  that,  after  appropriations  for  the 
road  were  expended,  the  Federal  Government  transfer 
to  the  States  all  obligations  for  the  National  Road. 
Appropriations  of  $652,130  were  approved  the  same 
day. 

Field  Superintendence  of  the  National  Road  was 
placed  in  the  hands  of  the  Topographical  Bureau  of  the 
War  Department. 

1835  Through  an  Act  Congress  approved  the  decision  of 
the  President,  made  after  the  War  Department  review, 
to  maintain  the  original  straight  course  of  the  road. 

1836  The  Superintendent  of  Repairs  of  the  National 
Road  in  Ohio  was  instructed,  on  March  1,  to  report  to 
the  House  of  Representatives  the  length  of  time  stage 
coaches  had  run  on  the  road  since  the  erection  of  toll 
gates,  the  amount  of  toll  paid  to  December  31,  1835. 
the  number  of  coaches  operated  by  each  line,  and  the 
average  amount  paid  quarterly  by  such  stage  lines. 

A  Bill  Appropriating  $600,000  for  the  National 
Road  in  Ohio  was  passed  by  the  House  and  the  Senate. 

The  Ohio  Legislature  passed  a  law  placing  all  works 
of  internal  improvement  under  the  supervision  of  the 
Board  of  Public  Works. 

1837  C.  F.  Dresbach  ^  Co.  opened  a  tavern  on  High  Street, 
Columbus,  opposite  the  State  House,  on  March  3,  and 
established  a  reputation  for  comfort  and  entertainment. 

Bids  Were  Invited  for  building  the  National  Road 
west  of  Springfield,  in  August. 

Contract  was  let  for  building  the  road  west  of  Spring- 
field. 

The  Post  Office  Department  of  the  United  States 
contracted   with  the  Great  Western  Express  and  Mail 


The    National    Road  47 


Line  for  carrying  mails  over  the  National  Road  from 
Washington  to  St.  Louis,  Missouri. 

Engineers'  Report  to  the  United  States  Government 
showed  the  cost  of  the  National  Road  to  date:  for  the 
section  east  of  the  Ohio  River,  $2,000,881.23;  for 
repairs  throughout,  $960,503.08;  for  the  section 
west  of  the  Ohio  River,  $3,863,335.02 — a  total  of 
$6,824,919.33. 

1838  Congress  on  May  25  made  the  last  of  a  scries  of 
appropriations  from  the  fund  of  land  sales  in  Ohio, 
Indiana,  and  Illinois.  Its  total  appropriation  amounted 
to  seven  million  dollars,  of  which  two  million  were 
spent  in  Ohio. 

The  Road  was  completed  to  Springfield. 

Three  Miles  of  the  road  were  finished  west  of  Spring- 
field, western  terminus  for  Congressional  appropriation. 

The  Dayton  ^  Springfield  Turnpike  Co.  was 
organized  by  private  capital  stock  sold  to  the  public,  and 
road  building  contracts  were  let  immediately.  The  road 
in  every  detail  matched  the  National  Road,  even  to  the 
extent  of  mile  markers  showing  distance  from  Cumber- 
land, Maryland.  After  its  completion,  it  was  often 
mistaken  for  the  National  Road. 

1839  The  Road  Superintendent  in  Ohio  reported  tolls 
collected  on  the  National  Road  as  $40,000  for  the  year 
1837  and  $52,870.78  for  the  year  1838. 

The  National  Road  was  graded  from  Springfield  to 
Englewood. 

1840  The  Road  Superintendent  in  Ohio  reported  tolls 
collected  on  the  National  Road  for  the  year  1839 
amounted  to  $51,364.67. 

The  National  Road  was  graded  to  the  Indiana  State 
Line. 

1846  Redding  Hunting,  who  drove  the  mail  coach  from 
Washington  to  Wheeling,  made  a  record  run  to  carry 
President  Polk's  proclamation  that  a  state  of  war 
existed  between  the  United  States  and  Mexico. 

1854  The  National  Road  from  the  Ohio  River  to  Spring- 
field, Ohio,  was  leased  to  private  concerns. 


48  The    National    Road 


1859  The  Board  of  Public  Works  of  the  State  of  Ohio 
resumed  control  of  the  National  Road  to  prevent  bank- 
ruptcy of  the  lessees, 

1876  The  Ohio  State  Legislature  authorized  the  county 
commissioners  of  several  counties  to  assume  control  of 
the  National  Road. 

1877  New  Rates  of  Toll  were  left  to  the  discretion  of  the 
various  county  commissioners. 

1901  The  Columbus  and  Buckeye  Lake  Electric  Railway 
was  put  into  operation ;  this  new  mode  of  transportation, 
flanking  the  road  from  Columbus  to  Hebron,  brought 
new  interest  and  life  cast  of  Columbus. 

1906  The  Indiana,  Columbus  K  Eastern  Electric  Rail- 
way Company  started  operation,  reviving  interest  in  the 
road  west  of  Columbus;  the  line  flanked  the  road  from 
Columbus  to  Springfield. 

1914  Increased  Automobile  Traffic  (122,500  registra- 
tions this  year)  brought  the  need  for  sturdier  road 
surfaces. 

The  First  Water-Bound  Macadam,  the  first  brick, 
and  the  first  concrete  was  used  as  paving  material  on  the 
road  in  Ohio. 

1932  The  First  Asphalt  Mixture  was  applied  to  the 
surface  of  the  road  on  the  theory  that  it  would  not  only 
have  better  resiliency,  but  also  provide  a  dark  road  for 
the  protection  of  the  motorists'  eyes. 

1939  The  Last  Electric  Line,  the  Cincinnati  ^  Lake  Eric 
Traction  Company,  successor  to  the  Ohio  Electric  Rail- 
way Company,  was  abandoned. 

1940  Traffic  Flow  Records  show  that  6,346  motor 
vehicles  pass  a  given  point  (near  the  city  of  Columbus) 
every  24  hours.  Of  this  amount  23.6  percent  is  inter- 
state traffic. 

The  Amount  of  Money  expended  on  the  road  through 
Ohio,  for  maintenance  only,  for  a  period  of  25  years 
dating  back  from  this  year,  was  $11,000,000. 


■tomeman    Press, 


Columbus,    okic 


UNIVERSITY  OF  ILLINOIS-URBANA 


3  0112  050746947